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Sika’s 100 Greatest Movies of All Time! 67. The Hannibal Lecter Trilogy (1991, 2001, 2002)

August 13, 2011

67. The Hannibal Lecter Trilogy (1991, 2001, 2002)

Plot: Red Dragon [2-DVD], Silence Of The Lambs [2-DVD] and Hannibal [2-DVD] tell the story of serial killer and gifted psychiatrist Dr Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins). In the first two films, he helps the FBI with crimes of other serial killers, playing games with the agents and proving to be as dangerous as the killers they are trying to catch.

In The Silence of the Lambs he develops a twisted relationship with FBI agent Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster). 

In Hannibal, his past comes back to haunt him, as a surviving victim resurfaces in pursuit of revenge and he re-establishes his relationship with agent Starling (this time played by Julianne Moore).

Also Starring: Edward NortonHarvey KeitelScott GlennTed LevineBrooke Smith
Directed by: Brett Ratner (Red Dragon), Jonathan Demme (The Silence of the Lambs), Ridley Scott (Hannibal)
Written by: Ted Tally (Red Dragon, The Silence of the Lambs) David Mamet, Steven Zaillian (Hannibal)
Based on: The novels by Thomas Harris
Length: 373 min
Budget: $90,000,000 (Red Dragon) $19,000,000 (The Silence of the Lambs) $87,000,000 (Hannibal)
Gross Revenue: $107,000,000 (Red Dragon) $272,742,922 (The Silence of the Lambs) $351,692,268 (Hannibal)
Review:  I’m going back and forth in my mind on whether or not to include ALL Hannibal Lecter movies as “one” post or just write about The Silence of the Lambs, the strongest of the three (four if you count that Hannibal Rising movie from 2007, which I don’t). I still haven’t made up my mind even though I have started writing my review…

Favorite Quote: Hannibal Lecter: A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti.

I mean, you CAN just watch The Silence of the Lambs and be done with it. You don’t need to know more. It’s not like watching the second of the Lord of the Rings movie, and then you wouldn’t know what the hell was going on. AND Silence of the Lambs as a stand-alone movie would place higher on this list, if not dragged down by the two others.
But on the other hand I’m also a completist and I like to have all the movies in a series (yeah, that fourth Hannibal movie is on my DVD shelf too. And yeah, I liked it but since Sir Anthony isn’t in it I’m not counting it as part of the Hannibal family. Well, maybe a second cousin or something like that) and I think you should too.

Nerdiest Movie Trivia:  After Jodie Foster and Jonathan Demme dropped out of Hannibal (2001), Anthony Hopkins was very reluctant in returning to play Lecter, and producers considered Tim Roth as a replacement. Wait, what? Tim Roth?? Thank God that didn’t happen.

So, I’m in a bit of a conundrum. What to do, what to do? Okay, let’s see:

1. The Silence of the Lambs (1991) is the strongest of the three, suspenseful, wonderfully acted and won a bunch of Oscars.

2. Hannibal (2001) is the weakest link, even if it’s still a good movie… No Jodie Foster in this final chapter since she declined to be part of it. But I thought Julianne Moore did a decent job replacing her.

3. The Red Dragon (2002) is great too. No Jodie Foster here either (since it’s actually the first movie timeline-wise) but with great actors like Edward Norton, Emily Watson, Ralph Fiennes and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

4. The 2 disc DVD’s have a truckload of great extras. And I love extras… Damn it, I think I’ll go for the trilogy. The story about Hannibal Lecter IS one of the best thriller-trilogies ever made so they deserve to be together. Trilogy it is!!

Oscar Count: The Silence of the Lambs 7 Nominations.
5 Wins: Best Picture, Best Director (Jonathan Demme) Best Lead Actress (Jodie Foster) Best Lead Actor (Anthony Hopkins) Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium (Ted Tally)

PREVIOUS ON THE LIST: 68. Spaceballs (1987)


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